August 24, 2016


Today, I asked the kids to do some writing about anything from their book that makes them think deeply. The idea was to see how long they can write without too much support and to get a glimpse at what kind of thinking they night be doing. I didn’t want to bug them with a conference, so I just walked around, peering over shoulders and giving little nudges when kids were stuck.

I noticed that I hadn’t watered my class planets in a few days, so I decided to do that. A few kids looked over at me, as I gently let spill the water. They grinned. I grinned back. It was a quiet peaceful exchange that made me feel a bit like Mr. Rogers. I’m not sure of the exact effect that tending plants in front of kids has on their psyche, but I would like to think that it is a positive one.

Maybe someday, when they are older and alone with a plant they will remember that middle school English teacher who loved his books and stories and writing- the one who kept his plants alive despite the fact that parts of his life were unglued.

I bought my ticket to go home for Karen’s memorial service. I have been anxious about this event and whether or not I could attend since she first entered the hospital back in July. It is hard with work and the start of a new year and a new job, but I couldn’t live with myself if I wasn’t there to say goodbye and have some kind of closure. I want to be there for Jason and the rest of the family and I want them there for me. I wish I could stay longer, but the tug of work is too strong. It will be a whirlwind on a terrible airline (China Eastern- I have heard terrible things) but I have faith that it will work out. It is necessary and now that I know I am going I can relax a bit. I’ve never in my life been to a funeral or a memorial service and god damn it, if Karen Doherty’s won’t be my first one.

So here’s something crazy- I think I like email. I know people hate it. They get anxious when they have a packed inbox, but I have convinced myself that getting, answering and writing emails is some kind of writing game. I’m not saying that my emails are anything worth reading, but I like the idea of thinking that each email is more writing practice. Coupled with these daily posts, I think I am just honing my craft of getting words on a page, in somewhat fluid and interesting ways.

Of course I realise that this time and practice should be spent on my novel that is gathering dust on my laptop, but for the time being the utilitarian necessity of communicating with various people feels natural and sometimes even fun. They come in one after the other and I try to answer them all in a timely and complete fashion. I am sure I will look back on this post as a premature and stupid thing to think. And I am sure some of you are shaking your heads at my innocence, but in the meantime…oh wait there’s another email. But wait Jabiz, it is passed 10pm. No need to answer that one right now.

Kaia slept soundly tonight. We bought her a scented humidifier night light and the lavender mist may have done the trick for at least one night.

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